Chapter 1:

When my senpai asked me "Will you go out with me?"

The Aftermath of the Magic Apocalypse

“So, you want to go out with me?” asked my senpai (senior) of two years and a friend I’ve known growing up most of my life, Ken Abrams.

I would be lying if I said the thought hadn’t crossed my mind, I mean Ken is pretty good looking standing at just shy of 180cm (5’ 10”), he is clean shaven, a head of slick back black hair, he’s been a sweetheart to me and my brother growing up, and he is very smart. He is so smart, I actually enjoyed competing with him academically growing up, even if the only subject he could ever best me in happened to be PE. He’s even the reason, albeit indirectly, I managed to work in this company’s division which was something I wanted to aim for, although I haven’t told him this yet because I don’t want his ego to inflate anymore than it already is. Despite all those good points, I can’t quite place my finger on it, something feels off. Damn it, women’s intuition, you are not logical at all. But if everything conformed to logic, the world as we know it would not be a hell hole with occasional patches of safe havens as we know it, so I need to trust what my gut says. “What do you even like about me?”

“What’s not to like?” he says.

“If that’s how you feel, I don’t think we will last very long as a couple. We’ll fall out of love with each other in a couple of years if we are lucky, or realistically, based on your dating history, maybe a couple of weeks”

Ken flashes a wry smile to my retort. Clearly, that was a sensitive spot for him. “I’m sorry, but your answer was a measly 20 points”

“Oof, just 20?” as he smirks at my response.

“That cheesy pick-up line may work on other girls, but I won’t settle for such a lame line. If you can manage a 100, I may agree to give you a trial run.” I cross my legs, “But you only have 2 more chances” as I give him a wink

“Hmmmmm” Ken says as he crosses his arms and thinks. “Well, if I didn’t appreciate how feisty you are, you are probably right that we wouldn’t last. Although, I want more than just a trial run”

“That’s a bit better but even being nice, that’s just 40 points” as I look at him in disappointment. Internally, I’m just snickering at his lame attempts to use as teasing material to get back at him and am trying to maintain my poker face.

“Really, 40 points? I really need to think hard about this. Can I have more time to think and come back to you with an answer I believe will be 100 points? Want to make the best use of my last guess. I was kinda hoping my last answer would be worth 60 points.” Ken says as he appears genuinely troubled by harsh standards.

I put my hand to my chin. “Hmm, considering you were hoping for 60 points, I guess you have an answer you thought might make it, until I dashed your hopes that is. How about I play nice and hear your answer as a free pass, but your deadline for your final guess is until just before lunch?”

“But that is not even an hour from now” Ken groans. “You really know how to negotiate”

“Is that your free guess?” as I pretend to contemplate

“Oh no, I just want more time to think is all” Ken says as he shakes his head like crazy

I let out a sigh. “If you can’t come up with something that meets my standards by then, you probably aren’t going to come up with something better no matter how much time you have today.

“Why is that?” he says as he blinks his eyes in surprise to my quip?

“Because after lunch, we have the meeting with our research supervisor to talk about the big presentation next week as we discuss the results on the big research project some of our clients next week are really looking forward to, or did you forget?” as I grin at response

“Oh” Ken says as if a light bulb went off. “Its crazy, you have only been here 2 months and already you are making waves with the company. You will finally surpass me in something. Before that happens, I want to woo you over to be my girlfriend. Your beautiful blue eyes, that gorgeous waist length hair, your slender frame. Beauty, brains, badassness, you have it all and you been beside me all this time”

“Our manager has those same qualities as I do and she is still single. Even better, she makes more money and because she groans she can’t find a man, you will have someone devoted to you which is something I can’t yet be. 70 points+10 for coming up with something on the spot instead of making me wait, but it is still short of 100” and Ken who thought he scored a 100 looks down and says “Damn it”

Our manager who heard that last bit scowls at us two and yells “Hey I’m paying you to analyze the data, not flirt. And you have the nerve to be doing it in front of me.”

“Oh, but manager, Ken here was practicing with me to confess to you. I think you will be interested to hear his confession to say the least” as I give her my most charming smile to which her scowl melts for a moment into a go on face. Ken is not happy at all at this setup but it his fault we got busted, and he needs to be a man and take responsibility, at least I gave him a lifeline, he will not have as much flack from the manager thanks to me.

“Why?” he says as he resigns himself.

“Because you want a girlfriend and if you really want to date someone in the office, who better than your boss who actually has the hots for you?”

“But if things don’t work out, I could be in real trouble. do you know she has the hots for me?” as if my last statement seems to have finally been processed through his brain

“Then rise to the occasion. It’s not like we are guaranteed to work out and your 3 chances at courting me tells me you need to work on yourself even more before a high class lady like me is worthy of you” as I give him a devilish smile and get back to work. Truthfully, even if he managed a satisfactory 100 point answer, at this time I had no intention of accepting it at 100 points, but I wouldn’t tell him that. Although if he could muster a 120 point answer, it’s possible even he might have picked up on hitting the mark. I mutter to myself, “and I could never tell if it was your heart, your brain or your little guy that was really flirting with me, though I have a pretty good idea".